Released on burglary charges Monday, the West Avenue Panhandler strikes again and this time he wasn’t so lucky

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New Castle (DE): After being released for a burglary Monday, 31-year-old James W. Darden is now behind bars for two more burglaries police allege he committed.

According to police at the time, Darden was being observed panhandling in front of the BP gas station on New Castle Avenue around 8:00 am. Monday morning June 22, 2020 when troopers took him into custody.

Police say, Darden, with the help of someone else burglarized the Family Dollar in the Crossroads Shopping Center around 2:00 Monday morning.

Darden was charged with Burglary Third Degree (Felony), Conspiracy Second Degree (Felony), Theft, and Criminal Mischief. However, he was released after an arraignment with a Justice of the Peace court on $6500.00 unsecured bond.

Police now say that on Wednesday morning around 2:30, Darden smashed the exterior glass door with a rock at the Shell Gas Station on New Castle Avenue.

Darden was not able to get inside the business because there was bars on the interior doors. Police say Darden then fled the scene, went to the BP Gas Station on New Castle Avenue where he used a piece of concrete to smash the glass door and successfully gain entry. Once inside, stole merchandise before fleeing the store without rendering payment.

“A trooper in the BP Gas Station area observed an individual matching the suspect description observed on video surveillance walking on Stamm Blvd. Troopers made contact with the individual, and he was identified as Darden.” said police spokeswoman Heather Pepper. “During this same time frame, Darden broke the window of a 2007 Honda Odyssey minivan with a rock parked in the parking lot of the Crossroads Shopping Center.”

“Also involved in these incidents with Darden was another individual. The other suspect is described as a white male, brown hair, wearing dark-colored clothing.,” Pepper said.

There are no surveillance photos available at this time., police said.

Darden was charged with Burglary 3rd Degree (felony), Conspiracy 2nd Degree (2 counts-felony), Theft under $1500 (2 counts), Criminal Mischief (3 counts), Conspiracy 3rd Degree (2 counts), Attempt to Commit Burglary 3rd Degree (felony), Conspiracy 2nd Degree (2 counts-felony).

He was arraigned by Justice of the Peace and committed to Howard R. Young Correctional Institution on a $13,000.00 secured bond.

If you or someone you know is a victim or witness of crime or have lost a loved one to a sudden death and are in need of assistance, the Delaware State Police Victim Services Unit/Delaware Victim Center is available to offer you support and resources 24 hours a day through a toll free hotline 1800 VICTIM-1. (1800 842-8461).  You may also email the unit Director at


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